Bark Skins open in New France in the late 18th century as Rene Sel, an illiterate woodsman makes his way from Northern France to the homeland to seek a living. Bound to a seigneur for three years in exchange for land, he suffers extraordinary hardship and violence, always in awe of the forest he is charged with clearing. In the course of this epic novel, Proulx tells the stories of Rene's children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, as well as the descendants of his friends and foes, as they travel back to Europe, to China, to New England, always in quest of a livelihood or fleeing stunningly brutal conditions--war, pestilence, Indian attacks, the revenge of rivals. Proulx's inimitable genius is her creation of characters who are so vivid--in their greed, lust, vengefulness, or their simple compassion and hope--that we follow them with fierce attention. This is Proulx's most ambitious novel ever, and her master work--
Format: Hardcover, 736 pages
Publisher: Scribner Book Company, June 2016
Publisher Marketing: Publisher Marketing: From Annie Proulx the Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, comes her masterwork: an epic, dazzling, violent, magnificently dramatic novel about the taking down of the world s forests.
In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, Rene Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a seigneur, for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters barkskins. Rene suffers extraordinary hardship, oppressed by the forest he is charged with clearing. He is forced to marry a Mi kmaw woman and their descendants live trapped between two inimical cultures. But Duquet, crafty and ruthless, runs away from the seigneur, becomes a fur trader, then sets up a timber business. Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditions the revenge of rivals, accidents, pestilence, Indian attacks, and cultural annihilation. Over and over again, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse.
Proulx s inimitable genius is her creation of characters who are so vivid in their greed, lust, vengefulness, or their simple compassion and hope that we follow them with fierce attention. Annie Proulx is one of the most formidable and compelling American writers, and Barkskins is her greatest novel, a magnificent marriage of history and imagination.
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